Obedience vs. Freedom

One of the most profound thinkers about ethics in the 20th Century was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, even if he left behind a trail of manuscripts, some finished and some not, in an order that remains elusive and with some thoughts that are relentlessly uncontainable. In other words, many of us long to know what he would [Read More...]

Bonhoeffer, Marriage and Abortion

Writing in Ettal, not far from Munich where Bonhoeffer was working as a double agent in but against Hitler’s tyrannical system, Dietrich Bonhoeffer began to write his work on Ethics. In the official works of Bonhoeffer (DBW 6) there is a full explication of the order of the various manuscripts he wrote, with full attention [Read More...]

The Journey of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

There are a number of very important biographies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, none more complete or significant than the one by Bonhoeffer’s friend, Eberhard Bethge (Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography). Bethge’s biography is complete though not exhaustive (even if at times a bit exhausting) and takes serious commitment to finish. The prose is not captivating. Alongside Bethge [Read More...]

The Church: What is or What could be?

Do you love the church for what it could be or what it is? If the former, I suggest you read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s magisterial little book, Life Together. It is, so I think, his best book. No need, however, to debate what is neither provable nor non-falsifiable — what one thinks is his best book [Read More...]

ML King and Bonhoeffer (Jonathan Storment)

This post is by Jonathan Storment. “Love in Practice is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.” – Dostoevsky Martin Luther King Jr. Day is this coming Monday, and around this time of year I like to read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and ask myself questions like, “Am I spending time [Read More...]

Bonhoeffer and the Conspiracy

A standard reading of Bonhoeffer, one I have believed most of my academic life, is that Bonhoeffer shifted from a kind of traditional socially conservative, fairly nationalistic approach to church-state relations to a pacifist-Sermon-on-the-Mount stance but that, once he returned to Hitler’s Germany after a brief spell at Union Theological Seminary, he shifted to a [Read More...]

Bonhoeffer: Was he really involved in the attempt to kill Hitler?

First, some context for me. In writing my Sermon on the Mount I struggled with how to deal with Bonhoeffer, or with which Bonhoeffer. I wrote up a section for early in the commentary that set out how I had learned to interpret Bonhoeffer’s ethics in the unfolding of his life and thought. This is what [Read More...]

Wish Dreams and the Church: Mark Stevens

This post, by Mark Stevens, concerns Bonhoeffer’s famous expression about wish dreams and the church. The most challenging words I have ever read on the subject of community come from a little book by Dietrich Bonheoffer entitled, ‘Life Together’.[1] Alongside Henri Nouwen’s ‘In the Name of Jesus’ it is one of the best books on [Read More...]

The Church and Life Together

I’ve been reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s magisterial, moving Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works). It is, so I think, his best book. No need, however, to debate what is neither provable nor non-falsifiable. What is worth discussing is his incredible set of statements about the expectations we bring to the church and [Read More...]

Bonhoeffer on Telling the Truth

Under the heat of the Nazis, in Tegel prison, and surely under the cloud of having participated in a conspiracy to wipe out Hitler, and clearly how he responded in interrogations and concealed the conspiracy, Bonhoeffer wrote a short essay, or a fragment, called “What does it mean to tell the truth?” The essay is [Read More...]